“What if….” My mom used to roll her eyes with the “what if” questions that I could create in my head. When I am with children, I also roll my eyes at the “what if a zombie apocalypse happens and you are the only person left on the planet” questions. But in my legal role, I am telling you it is time to start thinking of the “what if” scenarios that are actually feasible and real.
“What if I am in an accident and temporarily cannot communicate to others?”
“What if I am very sick and unable to make decisions?”
“What if I am traveling and need something taken care of at home immediately?”
“What if my spouse and I are both in an accident – what happens to our child?”
As an estate planner, I am always surprised to hear that a young adult has an estate plan in place. The typical answer that I hear from young adults (ages 18-35) is:
“I am too young to die.” Well, I think we can all agree that this is more of a hope than a fact.
“My family will take care of everything.” While this may be true, it is important to sit back and think about what else your family will be handling. If something were to happen to you, your family will be experiencing strong emotions. You can alleviate family stress but giving clear directions to your family. You would be surprised how appreciative most family members are by not needing to make decisions that are overwhelming, especially when dealing with such strong emotions.
“I do not have any assets.” An estate plan is not just planning for assets – it is planning for disability. Who is going to make decisions for you when you are unable to think or communicate effectively? We are talking about choosing someone you trust to make medical and/or financial decisions for you.
“I will eventually get around to doing it.” Well, maybe you will, maybe you will not. But why wait when you never know what tomorrow holds? It is better (and cheaper!) to plan now. We are likely talking about thousands of dollars in price difference.
“I guess that I should start thinking about an estate plan now that I have a kid.” YES. Yes, yes, yes. Who will take care of your child if you are unable to? Who do you trust with this responsibility? Do you want your child to inherit all of your money immediately, or over time? Who will handle all of the inherited money until your child turns 18 years old?
While a basic estate plan typically includes a Last Will & Testament (“Will”), Power of Attorney, and Advance Directive, an estate plan varies for every client. Not every client needs every document. With a proper consultation, a client can discuss the options for his or her particular estate plan.
Here are the typical major concerns for young adults:
Medical Decisions during Mental Disability/Incapacity (temporary or permanent)
Financial and Business Decisions during Mental Disability/Incapacity (temporary or permanent)
Asset Division at death
A basic estate plan answers all of these concerns, plus many other issues that frequently come up in our lives. It is time to admit we are not invincible. Call an estate planner and discuss your options.